Visit “Imaginary Worlds” at the Athenaeum

Browse first and early editions of all of your favorite children's books.

Take a break from technology and escape to the world of children’s books. The Providence Athenaeum invites young readers to explore the “Imaginary Worlds” exhibition through January 12 at the Sayles Gorham Children’s Library and Philbrick Rare Book Room. Browse the library’s children’s alcove tucked behind glass doors, where visitors can find first and early editions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, Madeline and The Little Prince. The oldest item on display is a 1726 first edition of Gulliver’s Travels. “One of the most powerful aspects of children’s literature is its ability to transport the reader to fantastic places,” says Robin Wetherill, the Providence Athenaeum’s director of marketing and communications. “The books selected for the exhibition exemplify the theme of ‘imaginary worlds’ and showcase the imaginations of generations of authors and artists.” It’s a way to make old stories live on with the next generation. The exhibit makes rare books more accessible to children, including a selection of early and mid-twentieth century titles usually only circulated with special permission. “There is also a scavenger hunt that invites visitors to search for literary friends hidden throughout the exhibit and rare book room,” Wetherill says. The children’s exhibit is open for viewing on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 6 p.m. and by appointment through January 12.